It took me three months, five trips, and four interviews to realize that I may have taken somethings for granted. Now that I have completed four interviews and starting to review my recordings, I realize that there are so many things that I would have liked to explore further! This experience is invaluable, incomparable, and virtually unprecedented in undergraduate study. I mean, realistically, how many undergraduate programs offer course that allow their students to actually conduct research in real life? I would argue that there aren’t many. But this is not the most invaluable, incomparable, or even unprecedented part of the project; it is the fact that, as a student researcher, you are given this key that unlocks a world of information that may never be shared with anyone else. The information that is divulged by the narrator may have been nesting in their minds and hearts for years, looking for an avenue of expression. The interviews are full of little secrets, whether they are found in the actual words themselves or in the words that are left unsaid and buried in the narrator’s physical movements. In my search for language, mostly verbal and written communication, I have completely forgotten about embodied communication, language that is expressed through the body and how important that is in getting more acquainted with someone. I have taken for granted the simple fact that these business owners may, in fact, be excited at the opportunity to talk about themselves and their most prized achievement: their business.
Some other things I found interesting was that, although these businesses are located in close proximity to each other (Ball Square and Magoun Square), they know virtually nothing about each other hence the lack of collaboration between them. The two in Magoun know each other and the two in Ball know each other but the ones in Magoun don’t know the ones in Ball and vice versa. I assumed that since they serve essentially the same population that they would engage with each other, but I was thoroughly mislead. What was even more surprising was that they still didn’t know each other even though at least three of them have availed themselves of the same Haitian media outlets in Boston.
Gender. We can never engage in any academic discourse without implicating gender. I realized that the business owners are male with the exception of Cordima Chiropractic Center where there is a female chief doctor. At Affordable Business Services, Inc. and the Law Office of Harvey Bazile, women are present as assistants, including Cordima Chiropractic Center. I have yet to confirm whether JR Pierre Real Estate has a female real estate agent on staff. Nevertheless, this is still significant with regard to women being owners of professional services and how men continue to dominate the professional workforce.
Last but not least, the arrival of the Green Line. It was interesting to note the differences in reactions to the project. Though the majority of my narrators commented that the Green Line extension would attract more business to the area, one narrator remarked that it would actually stabilize activity because it would provide current clients with a more convenient means of accessing Somerville via public transit. I didn’t think about this before so I think it makes a great contribution to my records.